Friday, 21 September 2007

Connections and Gullibility

dot image from

Gregory Bateson talked about how we notice the pattern that connects and how this important skill enables us to makes sense of information and invent new concepts.

Nevertheless this skill also has a 'dark-side' in that it can cause us to make connections that aren't valid. Advertisers rely on us making 'leaps of faith' between the information they present to us and how it connects to us through the process of association We do this all the time when we 'jump to conclusions'

Just how easily we 'connect' to things that have no real connection has just happened to me when picking a news item from Yahoo about about a shooting in Sheffield UK. (you could, of course argue that because a connection is made that particular is real in itself!)

A teenage boy was undergoing an operation to remove a bullet from his arm after an apparent drive-by shooting.

The 16-year-old was taken to hospital after he was shot from a vehicle on Carlisle Street in Sheffield at about 9.30pm on Thursday, a South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said.

The boy was expected to have surgery to remove the bullet but the injury was not thought to be life-threatening.

Some connections...

i) I do work in Sheffield
ii) I was born in Carlisle
iii) I have a teenage son
iv) My son was 'shot' by a neighbour with a pellet gun once

It's interesting that these things give us a sense of 'proximity' where non actually exists.

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